Tuesday, 29 September 2009

September 29th 2009

Severn Trent had been advertising my walk this Thursday with today’s date so I promised to be there by 11am today just in case anybody turned up. Good job as six arrived and we had a very pleasant and informative walk to toft bay and back.
Unfortunately there has hardly been any change in the birds we have been getting over the last few days so had to be content with the 2 Dunlin in toft bay, 4 Yellow Wagtail amongst the 20+ Meadow Pipits, a small party of Lapwing and 8 House Martin in the distance over Thurlaston village.
Afterwards I spent more time in the country park but very little on show and it took some to even see the local Buzzards that were out and about. Earlier when I arrived and met up with Mark we had at least 12 Skylark go over.
On the other hand this warm spell produced 2 Migrant Hawker dragonflies plus 2 Large White, Comma and 2 Small Copper butterflies and on the wall of the café looking like wind blown autumn leaves were 2 Canary-shouldered Thorn that were roosting though I could not find the Sallow that Bob had earlier.


Monday, 28 September 2009

September 28th 2009

Luckily I kept the trap going and managed to trap my 7th record of Brick and the earliest I have trapped one by over 3 weeks. As usual Bob has done me proud.


Black Rustic

The pond was still there and that was about the highlight of a dull visit. Still 10 Yellow Wagtails among the 40+ Meadow Pipits along farborough bank, 2 Dunlin in toft bay and 15 House Martins still present over Thurlaston village.
Spent 2 hours on the country park hoping for a fly over but zilch, 5 Buzzard over bunkers hill wood and a couple of Jay for my efforts while only a single Chiffchaff bothered to show itself. 3 Migrant Hawkers and 2 Common Darter noted.


September 27th 2009

Dave and I had planned to go out looking for owls and do the valley justice but that was knocked on the head with low lying mist so we chose to brew up and chew the cud overlooking the grassy fields. We were discussing whether to knock mothing on the head this year as our catches are low when a Long-eared Owl came out of the gloom – saw us then drifted back in to the mist. As we are always saying to each other – you make your own luck.
Unfortunately the pond was shrouded in mist and it took another hour and a half to burn off so we spent more time chatting to Pete & Jon Hall but still managed 2 Dunlin, 20 Meadow Pipit, 5 Yellow Wagtail and 4 Grey Wagtail while the Wheatear on toft bank showed characteristics of the larger, brighter sub-species oenanthe.
Brandon had little to offer with one Cetties Warbler and 3 others heard plus 36 Wigeon, 5 Snipe and Ringed Plover while in the courtyard a Brindled Green was next to one of the lights.

Brindled Green

Moved on to Lawford Heath and we managed 9 Buzzard, 20 Swallows heading south very high with another one hunting around one of the farms and 2 Meadow Pipits also going south.


Saturday, 26 September 2009

September 26th 2009

Woke up with my angry head on, so took it out on the garden till mid day then went to have a look at the pipit field and the pond. The bonus from bashing the plants was finding a Feathered Gothic.
A Blackcap was in the hedgerow on Southam road and both Kingfisher and Little Owl were by the bridge at Kites Hardwick along with a party of Greenfinch.
The Meadow Pipits were distant and even a scope did not do them justice so had to be content with the 4 Buzzard and 3 Red-legged Partridge that wandered past and five Swallow still hanging around the nearby farm., Green Sandpiper flew in to land somewhere along the Millbrook in the Gymswood reserve.
The pond still had a few lica abusers pounding the tarmac but since the Pecs gone birders have disappeared so yippee it’s back to normal mind you we need some birds – inland migration seem to have dropped to a dribble.
On the other hand it certainly looks like its going to be a good winter for gulls if the numbers continue to increase like they are doing at the moment but at this time of year the quality has not arrived. At least 3 adult Yellow-legged Gulls in the roost along with 2 first winters Med Gull. Only other birds of note were juv Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 6 Gadwall, 4 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Sparrowhawk.


Friday, 25 September 2009

September 25th 2009

Out with Dave this afternoon and Draycote was a struggle at first with very little about but eventually came away with 2 Dunlin in toft bay, 50+ House Martin over Thurlaston village, 5 Yellow Wagtail on farborough bank along with 2 Grey Wagtail and the Rock Pipit re-appeared with a Meadow Pipit on toft bank. Small Copper in the country park.
We decided to give the valley a quick look and found a recently harrowed field containing over 200 Meadow Pipits along the hill rd.
This evening I tried some sugaring for moths at Cock Robin but combined with clear skies and dropping temperatures only managed to attract single Large Yellow Underwing and Copper Underwing.


Thursday, 24 September 2009

September 24th 2009

Arrived at pond just after first light and visibility was down to 20 meters and it took over two and half hours for the fog to burn off.
I did a slow search up to the valve tower and back but there was no sign of the Pec or Greenshank but there were 4 Dunlin in toft bay, 2 Sanderling attempting to land among the fishermen on the outlet which also had a Dunlin and 2 juv Ringed Plover. The star wader was a partial summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit on the inlet.
The west side of reservoir produced 7 Raven and 14 Buzzard with another three from the country park. Summer visitors were few with only a single Swallow, 4 House Martin, 10 Yellow Wagtail and juv Wheatear while a Siskin over the country park was the first of the autumn/winter migrants.
Also around were adult Yellow-legged Gull on J buoy, 9 Grey Wagtail, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 12 Long-tailed Tit, 6 Bullfinch, Jay and 3 Kingfisher. I managed at long last to catch up with John Harris for a chat and spent a bit of time with Kevin, Bob and Francoise. A single Comma and 3 Migrant Hawker noted in the country park.

Of Interest to me:
My previous longest staying Pec was 5 days so 12 was impressive.
Today’s Raven count is my highest count for the pond.
For the first time in 32 years I have failed to see a Turtle Dove at the pond.
Although heard in the distance I failed to see Cuckoo at pond for the first time since 1977.
I still need Bewick’s Swan and Red-breasted Merganser for the pond/patch year list so keep an eye out for me.


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Not been out so missed the Manx Shearwater that was off farborough bank and captured by Max. Only stayed five minutes. Strong rumour that the pec has been flushed - I wonder how. Was present in the morning but could not be found this afternoon.

Manx Shearwater by Max Silverman
O the mothing gods are being good to me – for the second consecutive night I trapped a Merville du Jour and this one’s a cracker.

Merville du Jour by me

Merville du Jour by Bob Hazell

Bordered Beauty by Bob Hazell

Bob at work

Out in the evening with Dave looking for owls in the valley and managed Little Owl along the flecknoe road and Tawny Owl heard. Caught up with Cym & Dave at there smallholding and they had a Stonechat last weekend.


Tuesday, 22 September 2009

September 22nd 2009

Although it’s been a pleasantly warm blustery day we have had had a clear out of hirundine and warblers with only 20 House Martin and Swallows seen and personally I couldn’t find a warbler although Mark heard a Chiffchaff.
Shreck the Pec is still strutting its stuff in toft and getting a laugh out of watching bold headed Kodak flickers crawling on their hands and knees trying to blend in to the landscape and flushing the Rock Pipit. Only new arrival noted was the Greenshank in rainbow corner but no sign of the Bar-tailed and only one Ringed Plover seen. Farborough and toft bank still have at least 10 Yellow Wagtail and 6 Meadow Pipit.
Also seen in a six hour visit were 2 Dunlin, 11 Gadwall, 45 Teal, Yellow-legged Gull adult, Coal Tit, Stock Dove, 4 Grey Wagtail, 2 Raven, 3 Buzzard, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 5 Green Woodpecker and 2 Jay.
Back home and a check on my trap produced my first Merveille du Jour of the year but unfortunately it had been in the wars – a very tatty specimen.


Monday, 21 September 2009

September 21st 2009

I did not get down to the pond till late afternoon, Pec was still present in toft bay along with 2 Dunlin and a Rock Pipit while farborough bank had 6 Yellow Wagtail and a juvenile Wheatear. The Bar-tailed Godwit and partial summer plumage Dunlin were in rainbow corner with a party of 6 Ringed Plover sleeping amongst the Coot on the inlet. No sign of the Manadrin Duck. Other sightings included 2 Shoveler, 4 Wigeon, 3 Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Grey Wagtail, 7 Long-tailed Tit and a Blackcap. Two adult Yellow-legged and first winter Little Gull in the pre roost.


Sunday, 20 September 2009

September 20th 2009

Out again last night for the second night of National Moth Night which was spent with friends at Brandon Marsh but again it was a struggle though Bordered Beauty, Crescent, Large Wainscot and Bulrush Wainscot were worth seeing again as well as four species of Sallow. Final count was 42 species from 330 moths from 9 traps.
Very little sleep before we were out again walking to the valve tower with the Bar-tailed Godwit in rainbow and scoped the Mandarin Duck male found by Mick near the valve tower. Only other birds of note were 6 Yellow Wagtail, 6 Wigeon, 5 Meadow Pipit, Kingfisher, 8 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Chiffchaff and Blackcap.
Moths on the visitors centre wall were Sallow and Flounced Rustic.
Brandon was quiet with plenty of Wigeon, Gadwall and Shoveler on east marsh along with 8 Snipe while a short walk produced 3 calling Cetties, Coal Tit, 4 Chiffchaff and a Blackcap.


September 19th 2009

I was out early checking the traps at Cock Robin with 88 moths of 25 species a very poor showing for the first night of National Moth Night this weekend with Autumnal Rustic and Purple bar the best of the catch.

Purple Bar (this one was taken last year at ryton)
Once done it was down to the pond with the Pectorial Sandpiper still present feeding along side a Wood Sandpiper and 2 Dunlin while the Rock Pipit was still present among the Yellow Wagtails and Meadow Pipits. The post roost had juvenile Med Gull again and adult Yellow-legged Gull while the sleeping Bar-tailed Godwit on the inlet needed two attempts to see it. A Common Sandpiper also there.
The Country Park was cooking with a few warblers including 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Bullfinch, 15 Goldfinch and a Redstart while the trees at the top car park had over 500 House Martin resting and soon attracted a Hobby. Also seen were Buzzard, 2 Red-legged Partridge, 2 Grey Wagtail and Stock Dove.
Visiting photographers have still not caught on to the issues raised by them being on the shore line, they may not be flushing the Pec but they are certainly stopping other birds feeding or resting on the shore line or in the nearby willow scrub. In the end my tolerance levels snapped and had a barney with the scumbags.
After dinner Napton on the Hill still had 2 Wheatear plus 4 Chiffchaff, Spotted Flycatcher and Hobby but could not get to grips with a possible Honey Buzzard that flew west being mobbed by swallows and martins.


Friday, 18 September 2009

September 18th 2009

I had to be out mega early – sad – I needed the Bar-tailed Godwit that had been at Draycote Water for the last two days for my year list and at the same time National Moth Night is demanding my attention over the next 2 nights so it was the briefest of visits.
Luckily it was still present in rainbow corner along with a Wheatear and a couple of Yellow Wagtail while a quick stop in toft confirmed the Pectoral Sandpiper was still present before shooting off home to get the mothing gear ready. Ruff and Dunlin also noted.
Once done and a few other domestics it was back out with Dave for a more relaxed visit but not before a break in the cloud and the wind now in the east triggered a bit of migration over the garden mid morning with Golden Plover heading west calling loudly followed by a few Swallow and House Martins.
Once we had our coffee at the pond we wandered out to toft hoping for the Bar-tailed but no sign of it. Pectoral Sandpiper was showing well again with 2 Dunlin and there were still plenty of Yellow Wagtail and Meadow Pipits about feeding on the banks but missed the Rock Pipit. Adult Shelduck till mid afternoon when if flew off and juvenile still present.

Ruff by Bob Hazell

Bar-tailed Godwit by Bob hazell


Thursday, 17 September 2009

September 17th 2009

Out and about with Mark today ambling over to Sutton Gault, Cambridgeshire for the 6 Glossy Ibis but alas they were no where to be seen but in two hours we managed 3 Little Egret, juvenile Marsh Harrier, 2 Little Stint, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, Turtle Dove, 3 Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, Green Woodpecker and 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker. Also seen were Fox and Muntjac Deer and a stunning Kingfisher perched next to us.
Next port of call was Welney Wildfowl & Wetland Trust mainly for a look round than for any thing specific though we were treated to excellent views of juvenile Marsh Harrier on the ground, Hobby and 30 Ruff. Also present were 5 adult and one juvenile Whooper Swan including adult yellow davic ring No DH6.
A look at Nene Washes produced 2 Hobby and a distant Marsh Harrier then on the way home we popped in to Draycote Water so Mark could get the Pec Sand on his list. Treated to excellent views but the visit spoilt yet again by some ugly sallow skinned, buck toothed, zit ridden, flea infested Kodak fiddler hogging the shore-line. Mark wouldn’t let me kick the shit out of him so we left. Our fourth Hobby of the day was over farborough bank chasing the hundreds of hirundine present. Farborough bank also had 20+ Yellow Wagtail and single Wheatear.
Not mentioned moths for a while as it’s been a poor month but Bob Hazell popped round yesterday to photograph the following.

Vine's Rustic

Brindle Green
Sallow at Draycote Water by Bob Hazell


Tuesday, 15 September 2009

September 15th 2009

When I arrived at the pond just after 6:30 the place was heaving with birds with a large overnight influx of hirundines and at least 3000 gulls still hanging around after the roost and reluctant to leave in the cool blustery conditions (north north east gusting 25mph)
Both farborough and toft bank had many wagtails and pipits before being kicked about by the walkers and the sheltered areas had finches and warblers. Couldn’t find the pec first time round and had to play catch up later but the bird of the day was the juvenile Pied Flycatcher that appeared at the end of the old bridal path in the perimeter hedge about two thirds along and below farborough bank at 11pm. Unfortunately it chose a spot the Lesser Whitethroats like so they pushed it back over the hedge so viewing became difficult with poor distant views obtained by walking half way down toft bank and looking back as it worked its way back to towards the reservoir entrance.
Highlights of a cracking visit were:-
Caspian Gull: adult on the surface in toft bay on arrival, first of the autumn.
Yellow-legged Gull: two adults and a second year bird off farborough spit
Black Tern: one out in the centre and not easy to see in the conditions
Pectoral Sandpiper: still present but please consider other birds, birders and habitat if you are tempted to go on to shoreline to photograph. A number of complaints received today regarding the antics of some birders. Officially you are not supposed to be there and with many fishermen on the north bank there is limited shoreline on the south side. Cheers.
Shelduck: juvenile still in toft shallows.
Curlew Sandpiper: juvenile flushed by fishermen and photographers becoming very mobile and elusive
Dunlin: 2 in toft bay and one flew south.
Ringed Plover: one toft bay and 2 in windsurfing area.
Little Ringed Plover: one juvenile wind surfing area.
Sanderling: 3 juvenile flew past hensborough bank towards inlet at 10am
Ruff: one juvenile windsurfing area
Yellow Wagtail: 40 on the banks and 20 heading south over country park
Meadow Pipit: 30 at least on banks and 20+ heading south over country park
Grey Wagtail: a very impressive count of 8 among the wagtails and pipits indicating some were migrants
Wheatear: at least three present.
Lesser Whitethroat: 3 in the area described above
Chiffchaff: 11 with 4 in country park, 2 below hensborough bank, 2 below farborough bank and 3 in toft shallows.
Willow Warbler: 4 with 2 in country park, one windsurfing area and one toft shallows.
Blackcap: singles in country park and toft shallows.
Hirundines made up of 1500 House Martin, 500 Swallow and 300 Sand Martin with 80% moving on by mid-morning.
Swift: one with the above over biggen bay
Also 31 Teal, 18 Wigeon, 3 Gadwall, 20 Linnet, 2 Buzzard and Sparrowhawk.

Also of interest is that Bob forward details of a colour ringed Cormorant (orange CHX) seen around the pond recently and it comes from Abberton Reservoir, Essex.


Monday, 14 September 2009

September 14th 2009

Kevin reported the Pec was still at the pond while I was plodding away around the south side of Napton on the Hill early morning. More activity than yesterday but no obvious over night migration accept for a lone Whimbrel that flew south. The only other highlight was a party of 6 Raven overhead and another party of eight on the ground looking towards the Hellidon tower.
Napton reservoir was more productive with 2 Yellow Wagtail, 15 Long-tailed Tit, Kingfisher, female Wigeon, Reed Warbler and Water Rail.
The pond this afternoon still had the Pec Sandpiper along with 2 Curlew Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin in toft bay, Sedge Warbler in biggen bay and a Redshank on the outlet. Still quiet a few Yellow Wagtails about and warblers seen included 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warbler. Juvenile Shelduck still.
Pec still present this evening


Sunday, 13 September 2009

September 13th 2009

Pec Sandpiper by Steve Seal

Pec Sand by Rich Dawkins

Dave and I had 15 Yellow Wagtail and 10 Meadow Pipits as we walked out to toft bay and soon relocated yesterdays Pec Sandpiper feeding happily along the shoreline in toft bay with a Dunlin and Ringed Plover for company so we soon had the news out.
It wasn’t long before the Bumbling Bears, Steve & Chris, Mick, Dave, Di and a few others arrived and while some got to work on photography we managed 3 Wigeon, juvenile Shelduck, Kingfisher, Great-spotted Woodpecker with a few House Martin and Swallow still feeding over Thurlaston village. Unfortunately we had left by the time 3 Curlew Sandpiper arrived.
After breakfast and a Raven over the Princethorpe flyover we decided that the 2 Spotted Flycatcher at Brandon Marsh should be given a miss choosing instead to look at Napton on the Hill for migrants.
By the time we arrived the cloud cover had increased and the cool north east wind had got up so we struggled to see anything on the north side or in the quarry but the south east corner of the churchyard was very productive with 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff amongst a very large tit flock and in the adjacent valley at least 10 Raven were dotted about. Also present were 20 Swallow and 10 Meadow Pipit heading south, a couple of Buzzard, 10 Mistle Thrush and Sparrowhawk. The nearby Napton Reservoir had 2 Reed Warbler and 2 Pochard seen by the Bumbling Bears.
Back home and by late afternoon there was a bit of migration over the garden with 20 Meadow Pipit, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 10 Swallow and 3 Sand Martin heading south so next few day is going to interesting and busy.


September 12th 2009 Extra

I woke to find Richard Tyler who found the Pec had kindly sent me some images which are very much appreciated.

Pectoral Sandpiper

Curlew Sandpiper


Saturday, 12 September 2009

September 12th 2009

By the time I arrived in the valley just before day break the mist was just starting to form and within an hour the visibility was poor but by then I had managed to find Tawny Owl and 2 Barn Owl before moving on to the high ground of Napton on the Hill.
Being above the mist then a two hour search produced more warblers that expected with
2 Whitethroat and Spotted Flycatcher in the churchyard, 2 Chiffchaff 3 Willow Warbler and Blackcap by the 2nd kissing gate, another couple of Chiffchaff towards the end of the horse field while the scrub below the quarry was the most productive area with 2 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Yellow Wagtail, Sedge Warbler and Willow Tit. Other birds present included Great-spotted Woodpecker, 9 Long Tailed Tit, 2 Coal Tit, Buzzard and 2 Jay.
Cycling between Napton and long Itchington the sun was breaking through and I had a roadside party of 12 Long-tailed Tit plus Treecreeper, Whitethroat and Red-legged Partridge.
After breakfast it was clear blue skies and warm so worked the northern edge of Southam Quarry finding Little Ringed Plover, Yellow Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, Whitethroat before accidentally flushing a Short-eared Owl and watching a Hobby juvenile perched with a recently caught House Martin. Moved on to check the brambles opposite the entry to Stockton Cutting but nothing was showing.
Between Hill and Kites Hardwick there were many Lesser Black-backed Gull in the recently ploughed fields along with Black-headed Gull and a few Herring Gull while Meadow Pipits, Yellow Hammer and Reed Bunting flew over but Skylarks were in very poor numbers.
The Curlew Sandpiper reported at Draycote Water earlier was still present along with Common Sandpiper in toft bay with Spotted Flycatcher, Whitethroat and Garden Warbler in toft shallows. Also seen were juvenile Wheatear in fields below farborough spit, Buzzard and Peregrine.
Just arrived home when JJ and Dave Morgan rang to say Pectorial Sandpiper had just arrived so despite a sore bum it was back out again for a look. This is my 6th record with the last on the 22nd September 2005

Other sightings were
Common Blue, Green-veined White, Large White, Speckled Wood, 6 Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Painted Lady, 4 Comma and Peacock
Common Darter, Ruddy Darter, Migrant Hawker and Brown Hawker
Muntjac Deer, Grey Squirrel, Hare, Rabbit and Weasel.
Dusky Thorn on the wall of Napton Church

Could be foggey at the pond first thing so check forecast. Gates open 7am


Friday, 11 September 2009

September 11th 2009

After a cold night it was gorgeous autumn day with the morning spent gardening which produced Vapourer moth and Brimstone butterfly but very little on the birding front apart from the local Sparrowhawk and Buzzard and 2 House Martins which arrived over the garden and spent three hours feeding up before moving on.
Met up with Dave for coffee at the pond then a walk out to farborough spit with at least 26 Yellow Wagtail remaining from the influx earlier in the week otherwise not much else about apart from Whitethroat and Garden Warbler in the perimeter hedge below farborough bank and 2 Buzzard.
Butterflies seen were Small Tortoiseshell, Large White, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood and Brimstone. Vapourer seen along farborough bank.
This evening at least 2 Yellow-legged Gull adults flew over garden heading for the roost at the pond.


Thursday, 10 September 2009

September 10th 2009

High pressure is now well and truly in control of our weather, and looks set to stay put for at least the next week. This isn't good news for migrants inland as the clear cold nights mean birds are going straight over. Last night was a typical example with Whimbrel, Oystercatcher and Meadow Pipit all heard calling as I was sugaring around the estate.
The valley had very little to offer this morning with 2 Grey Partridge and 8 Reed Bunting worth mentioning.
Mark came round for coffee mid-day and a chat and we managed 2 Raven going over the garden.


Tuesday, 8 September 2009

September 8th 2009

A very warm blustery day at the pond with a visible migration of Swallows and House Martins heading south for most of my visit this morning with up to 500 per hour in the morning dwindling to less than 50 per hour by mid-day. Plenty of other migrants on offer with over 70 Yellow Wagtail, 15 Meadow Pipits, 5 Wheatear, juvenile Whinchat and a very uncommon autumn White Wagtail between toft and farborough bank and the adjacent fields. Waders on offer today included female Ruff, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Ringed Plover and Snipe over the country park while warblers found in the more sheltered areas were 2 Whitethroat, 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler and a Garden Warbler.
Other sightings included a very tired juvenile Artic Tern resting on the fishing pontoons, single Swift still patrolling the skies above Thurlaston village, 2 Grey Wagtail, 5 Buzzard, 16 Stock Dove, 2 Willow Tit, Goldcrest, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker and 2 Green Woodpecker.
Insects included Migrant Hawker, 2 Ruddy Darter, a few Large White, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 6 Speckled Wood and 2 Common Blue.
Late afternoon at home besides a few Swallow and House Martins still moving south there were Hobby and 3 Buzzard doing the same.
A second visit to look at the roost produced juvenile Merlin over draycote bank and juvenile Curlew Sandpiper in biggen bay (my last was on 22nd September 2007) with 4 Yellow-legged Gull in the roost.


Sunday, 6 September 2009

September 6th 2009

It was a case of no pain no gain this morning as I managed to get out to farborough spit with Dave, John and Colin finding 6 Yellow Wagtails and 3 Swift before lady luck paid us a visit with sightings of Knot and Whimbrel.
Two unidentified waders flew towards us but we lost them and as we tried to relocate we picked up a Whimbrel which circled the reservoir calling and flew close by. As we continued along the bank the two unidentified turned out to be juvenile Knot which took off and gave cracking views as they flew towards toft bay only to return minutes later. From farborough spit we also had juvenile Ringed Plover on the shoreline in toft bay and 3 Common Sandpiper fly past. Only other birds of note were Chiffchaff, Buzzard and 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker.
Left John to continue on to toft bay while we had breakfast at the Diner in Long Itchington enjoying the antics of the multitudes ogling the mass of classic cars in the car park.
Napton on the Hill was our next stop where we had 6 Spotted Flycatcher, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Buzzard, Treecreeper and Coal Tit before moving on to Brandon Marsh where we managed Jay, Dunlin, Greenshank, 3 Snipe and Frosted Orange.
On the way home we checked on Lawford Heath but only saw 5 Buzzard then it was back out in the evening to check out the roost with the Bumbling Bears finding at least 3 Yellow-legged Gulls.

Frosted Orange by BoB Hazell


Saturday, 5 September 2009

September 5th 2009

I was down the pond by day break hoping something had come in overnight but after 5 hours with out a sniff and leaving the visitors centre for a second circuit I did a spectacular summersault over the handle bars. Luckily some helpful people got me back on me feet and the Rangers patched me up. Heavily grazed knee, bruised back, elbow and legs and dislocated thumb which popped back in all most immediately but it’s me pride that’s hurt the most.
At least 6 Swift amongst the many hirundines
Yellow Wagtail 12 on toft bank at 6:30am and 25 over country park later
Black Tern juv
Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper in toft bay
Pintail and Goosander females off inlet
Spotted Flycatcher in the country park
Yellow-legged adult and 2cy at first light along with juv Med Gull
Sand Martin 200
Tree Sparrow below farborough spit found by the Wild boys
JJ and Alfie had Lancaster Bomber over the country park heading north mid afternoon.
Moths are extremely poor at the moment so 2 Red Underwing on the wall of the rangers yard was notable and Dave’s Frosted Orange trapped last night was well worth getting Bob to do his magic.


Friday, 4 September 2009

September 4th 2009

Its quiet funny really – I saw thousands of Manx Shearwaters yesterday but as soon as the phone rang to say one was at the pond I turned in to jelly. Couldn’t get there straight away so had to wait till I met up with Dave in the afternoon and luckily it was still performing off farborough bank being tracked diligently by Steve Valentine, Bob Duckhouse, Dave Hutton and Rich Dawkins who managed some good shots considering the wind was averaging well over 25mph with gusts exceeding 36mph.
This was a Warwickshire and Draycote tick for Dave so he is all smiles and for me it’s my 12th record for the pond involving 13 birds with the last on 30th August 2007 and my 3rd record to fall on 4th September. None have stayed overnight but till this wind drops off who’s not say another one can’t turn up. It’s also looking good for skua and phalaropes tomorrow so see you there.
Missed the Osprey that went through at 12:30pm but we managed 4 Swift, juvenile Hobby and Yellow Wagtail while Black tern and Goosander still being reported.

Manx Shearwater by Steve Valentine

Manx Shearwater by Dave Hutton


September 3rd 2009

Overnight journey to Pendeen on the North Cornish coastline was uneventful despite a cardboard meal at Exeter (nothings changed) and arrived before daybreak where more hardy souls were already present.
Wilson’s Storm-petrel was the highlight of eight hours of sea watching in strong WNW winds turning more westerly and decreasing later. Also passing west were very good numbers of Manx, 40 Sooty, 20 Balearic, 4 Cory and 20 unidentified Shearwater, 8 Storm Petrel, 2 adult Sabine’s Gull, 8 Great Skua and 18 Grey Phalarope.
I was certain I was going to catch up on the Spotted Crake and Citrine Wagtail at Marazine Marsh but dipped and had to make do with a nearby Stonechat, Little Egret and Rock Pipit only to find out later that a Baird’s Sandpiper was located there after I left.
Barn Owl flew over the A46 near Eversham on the way home.

Bob Hazell took this of Grey Dagger larva at the pond today.


Tuesday, 1 September 2009

September 1st 2009

The North Atlantic has a series of low pressure weather fronts heading for us this week and after reading an account of sea watching off the North Cornish Coast last week it sparked the memories of many sea watching trips we used to do in the 80s & 90s so I’m hoping the predicted squally showers in a northwesterly gales towards the end of the week comes off.
After that introduction I was not expecting the triple whammy my patch dealt me today. The first was my first record of Purple Bar in my garden trap after a very mild night and brings my garden total to 293 macro species and 128 micro species.

Purple Bar - record shot before it escaped

The second was the Great White Egret that turned up at Brandon Marsh mid-day which unfortunately I was not aware of for a few hours as I was in a poor mobile reception area of the pond and missed the many calls from John, Terry, Colin and others which I greatly appreciate. Luckily I did not need it for my Warwickshire or patch list but if it stays then it’s got to be worth a peek.
Finally the third and the most mind blowing was the Montagu’s Harrier that literally fell out of the sky as the heavens opened at Draycote Water. First sighted over the leam valley dropping like a stone it then flew low over rainbow corner, along draycote bank and appeared to be heading for shelter in the trees surrounding Bourton Hall but instead carried on in a north westerly direction keeping low and avoiding the corvids that were following it. This was my first record for the pond and I haven’t stopped smiling since. The bird an immature male looked very bedraggled indicating it had already spent some time trying to get past the weather front responsible for its appearance.
Also present were Goosander female, Black Tern, 2 Grey Wagtail, 10+ Yellow Wagtail and another 30+ on the adjacent golf course, Wheatear, 2 Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Sparrowhawk, Treecreeper, 13 Long-tailed Tit, Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Blackcap, 6 Swift, Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper.